I’m using my fears to set the action plan for 2018.

I know.  We’re still in the holiday season but I want to share something I’m doing for the New Year.  What’s cool is that you can do this all the time!

I write daily and often deep in the pages I hit the trigger, the golden line that sets off a reflective investigation that can last for hours.  Round and round I go and honestly it feels like a waste of time.  But if I’m spending so much time writing about it, could it possibly be showing me what I want?

The triggers are usually based on something I didn’t do or things that make me anxious.  I ask why?  And then I ask it again and again.  This is a strategy from my teaching days when we wanted to really take a look at school issues and dig deep into the matter.  Oddly, or perhaps fortunately, the road most often leads to Fear.

A fear of what exactly?

I’m also a big Tim Ferris reader and listener of his podcast.  He recently shared a strategy he uses when he wants to make decisions.  He calls it Fear Setting and it leads to action.  (Tim explains the process in this TED2017 video.  He also has a new book, Tribe of Mentors.  Recommend.) 

“What if I…?”

My three little words for 2018.




So, I’m scouring my writings from the year and looking for opportunities that I did NOT take because of fear or just couldn’t come to a decision.  I’m finding those nuggets and asking, “What’s the worst that can happen?” or “What if I…?”

When I look back at experiences that shattered the joy meter; they were all preceded by fear.  Can it be this simple?


1).  Going to Brazil more than ten years ago.  First time was with a friend.  Easy.  The second time I went alone, with some Fear!  Game changer.

2).  Facing a classroom of 32 adolescents for the first time in an Oakland public school classroom.  Little did I know that what followed would be 17 years of the most rewarding and difficult years of my life.

3).  Getting on a horse again after 40 years and jumping.  Only to lead me to my most recent riding adventure in Morocco.  “Gallop?” he said in broken English.

4).  Returning to the studio and creating every day.  Clarity liberates if you let it.

Proof.  A sample of one is good enough for me.

I have a feeling 2018 is going to be adrenaline rich!

What fear are you putting into action for 2018?  Happy Holidays!